The making of knives, such as kitchen knives and bushcraft knives. See the separate entry for folding knife making.
|Historic area of significance||Sheffield|
|Area currently practised||There are still larger companies in Sheffield. Individual makers are working across the UK.|
|Origin in the UK|
The craft of knife making has prehistoric origins and first existed in a form of chipping stones and were used for hunting and survival purposes. Knives’ design evolved into the contemporary shape we know now in the Iron Ages. The only significant difference since then is the improvement in the quality and types of steel and the way it’s manufactured for durability and utility, but the process of blacksmithing and forging remains all the same.
The techniques of making knives universally consist of blade making and handle making.
The blade is usually made using any or a combination of following processes – stock removal, forging to shape (by forging or blanking), welded lamination, investment cast. The metals used for the blades are usually from the steel family – carbon steel and stainless steels. Different steels have different functionalities and applications and differ in edge retention, corrosion resistance, sharpness and hardness.
Handles are usually made from a range of materials such as wood, brass, plastic or polymer.
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Legislation: There are various laws applying to the sale of knives
Recruitment issues: Difficulty in finding people who want to work in manufacturing as people don’t want to get their hands dirty.
- Knife Makers Guild
- Society of British Cutlers
- German Guild of Knifemakers (Deutsche Messermacher Gilde)
- UK Knifemaking & Bladesmithing – Facebook Community group offering advice, support and sharing resources
Craftspeople currently known
Eggington Brothers, Sheffield. Sell knives under several brands.
Taylors Eye Witness, Sheffield
A Wright & Son, Sheffield
- Stuart Mitchell, Sheffield
- Will Ferraby, Sheffield
- Tom Regula
Total number of craftspeople: A Wright & Son of Sheffield manufactures knives, folding knives and swords and does hand grinding in-house. They have a workforce of ten people – five older people, and five younger people whom they train from scratch, and everyone does a bit of everything.